Stonewalling in New Zealand

“For those unfamiliar with the story: NIWA [National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research] keeps raw data for the national NZ temperature record and makes it available on their web site. The Climate Conversation Group and the NZ Climate Science Coalition conducted a joint study of the temperature record, researched by a science team and published on 25 November under the title Are we feeling warmer yet?.

That study demonstrated that the official graph does not represent the raw temperature data. NIWA told us that adjustments have been applied so we’ve asked for the details. So far they obfuscate. …

But most significantly [NIWA’s] email does not give details of the adjustments made to the temperatures, nor does it give the information required to derive the adjustments. …

We are asking valid, reasonable questions of a public body, the very same questions which Dr [Vincent] Gray has been asking for many years. Why don’t they answer? …

So what are we asking for? What has caused this flurry of frosty press releases and belligerent blogs? Here are the tough questions that have put the nation’s premier environmental organisation into a tizz and provoked them to a nervous, self-obsessed obfuscation:

  1. The graph of the New Zealand temperature record on the NIWA website is based on just seven weather stations. What, precisely, gives NIWA confidence that they are representative of the whole country?
  2. What, precisely, are the adjustments made to the temperature readings at each of those seven stations, what is the raw data involved in making them and when were they each made?
  3. What, precisely, are the reasons each station was adjusted?

We note that these questions are within NIWA’s area of competence. …

We put only three questions and they haven’t answered any of them! For seven stations, it would take about half an hour to pull out the figures and send them over. We would go away and so would any hint of scandal. What are they hiding?

The longer NIWA obfuscate, produce red herrings, answer questions we haven’t asked and criticise us for what we haven’t alleged and haven’t challenged, the more suspicious everybody gets. …

Our three questions are on the table. NIWA have not answered even one. Now a fourth, more ominous, question looms larger with every passing day: why don’t they answer?” “NIWA’s obfuscation unequivocal — it’s worse than we thought


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